The impact of foreign direct investment on women’s economic, political and civil rights

Rahman, S., 2024. The impact of foreign direct investment on women’s economic, political and civil rights. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) plays a significant role in enhancing economic growth within host countries. Governments are well aware of the advantages associated with FDI and are actively exploring innovative strategies to attract more foreign investments. However, it is important to note that FDI is not gender neutral and it may affect men and women differently. Many studies have focused on assessing the impact of FDI on productivity, wages and employment levels within host countries. Yet there is limited number of studies that systematically investigate the influence of FDI on women’s rights and gender equality. Existing research that has examined the gender dimension of FDI has largely focused on two key aspects: the female labour force and the gender wage gap. However, concentrating solely on these individual indicators may not provide a comprehensive understanding of how FDI affects women. Therefore, with the availability of new and more extensive data sources, there is an opportunity to utilise a broader array of indicators related to gender equality and women’s rights. This expanded perspective can offer new insights and contribute to the limited body of literature, with a more nuanced understanding of the impacts of FDI on women and gender equality within host countries.

This research aims to investigate the impact of FDI inflows on women's economic, political and civil rights in the host countries. For this purpose, we use longitudinal data from the Varieties of Democracy dataset for 150 countries over the period 1970-2018. The impact of FDI may also depend on factors including a country’s income level, development stages and the absorptive capacity. Therefore, we divide our data into two different income levels of countries, to see how the impact of FDI varies across different income groups. This new dataset allows us to go beyond the previous studies, which tend to focus solely on female labour force participation (FLFP) and gender wage gap. The research includes three empirical chapters, each of which focuses specifically on each aspect of women’s rights. We use a number of empirical techniques, including Pooled Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) estimation, Two-Way Fixed Effects, Driscoll Kraay Standard Errors, and Two-Stage Least Squares (2SLS) estimation, to investigate the impact of FDI on women’s rights.

Our findings indicate that FDI inflows generally have a positive impact on women's rights. We observe a strong correlation between FDI and FLFP in the full sample of countries. However, upon analysing the impact of FDI on women’s rights within two distinct income groups of countries we observed contrasting effects. Specifically, we find that FDI has a negative effect on FLFP in low-middle income countries, while it has a positive effect on FLFP in high-income countries. Moreover, we find no strong evidence of FDI influencing other aspects of women's economic rights, including the Women Business and the Law Index and Access to State Jobs. Regarding women's political rights, our analysis does not reveal any noteworthy impact of FDI, regardless of the different income level of the countries studied. Conversely, we find a positive impact of FDI on various aspects of women's civil rights, which includes freedom of movement, freedom from forced labour, and women's property rights. Nevertheless, the impact of FDI on civil rights is only visible in high income countries. Furthermore, our research highlights the importance of democracy, as a political institution, in shaping women's rights. These factors, playing a significant role in shaping individual norms and behaviour within a country, can potentially impede or assist the positive impact of FDI on women's rights. In conclusion, based on our study, we find empirical evidence that supports a positive relationship between FDI inflows and women's rights. However, the impact varies across different aspects of women's rights and different income levels of countries studied. The role of political institutions is also crucial in shaping women's rights.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Rahman, S.
Ackrill, R.Thesis
Kouki, A.Thesis
Makhlouf, Y.Thesis
Date: April 2024
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 26 Jun 2024 10:32
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2024 10:32

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